, Volume 104, Issue 8, pp 561–574 | Cite as

Fine structural cytochemical and immunocytochemical analysis of nucleic acids and ribonucleoprotein distribution in nuclei of pig oocytes and early preimplantation embryos

  • V. Kopecny
  • M. Biggiogera
  • J. Laurincik
  • J. Pivko
  • P. Grafenau
  • T. E. Martin
  • X. D. Fu
  • S. Fakan
Original Articles


The fine structure of pig oocytes at the germinal vesicle (GV) stage and early preimplantation embryos (one to four blastomeres) isolated at slaughter was investigated by cytochemical and immunocytochemical methods. The distribution of nucleic acids and ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) in “compact nucleoli” [denominated nucleolus-like bodies (NLB) in oocytes and nucleolus precursor bodies (NPB) in early embryos] and in intranuclear bodies or granules was investigated by staining methods preferential for nuclear RNPs or using the osmium ammine or ethidium bromide-phosphotungstic acid (EB-PTA) reactions for nucleic acids. The distributions of the Sm antigen of nucleoplasmic small nuclear RNPs (snRNPs), the methyl-3 guanosine (m3G) cap of snRNAs and the splicing factor SC-35 were detected by immunoelectron microscopy using specific antibodies. The RNP nature of both NLBs and NPBs, and of nuclear granules in oocytes and embryos, and of fibrillar strands radially projecting from NLBs was revealed. Cytochemical evidence for RNA as a component of NLBs was further provided by EB-PTA staining in combination with the enzymatic removal of RNA, or by osmium-ammine staining without previous acid hydrolysis, while the absence of DNA in NLBs was established by Feulgen-like osmium-ammine staining. In addition, autoradiography demonstrated the absence of [6-3H]thymidine incorporation into NPBs. Other autoradiographic evidence attested the accumulation of RNA in NLBs of oocytes after a 60 min in vitro pulse of [5-3H]uridine. Immunoelectron microscopy using specific antibodies revealed the occurrence of nucleoplasmic snRNPs in both NLBs and NPBs. The presence of snRNA in NLB was confirmed by means of an antibody recognizing the m3G-cap structure. Another spliceosomal component, the protein SC-35 was also detected in NLBs. Among the numerous and variable intranuclear granules occurring mostly in aggregates, the Sm antigen was clearly detected only in the interchromatin granule-type component. Some Sm labeling was occasionally seen in other categories of larger granules. No reaction was detected over any granules when using the anti-m3G-cap antibody. The aggregates consisting of large granules and a finely fibrillar component were intensely immunolabeled by the anti-SC-35 splicing factor probe. Our observations suggest that the compact nucleoli, known to be present before and after fertilization in mammals (NLBs of oocytes and NPBs of early embryos), represent nuclear structural elements containing nonnucleolar, spliceosomal components.


Splice Factor Immunoelectron Microscopy Germinal Vesicle Large Granule Nucleolus Precursor Body 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Kopecny
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Biggiogera
    • 1
    • 3
  • J. Laurincik
    • 4
  • J. Pivko
    • 4
  • P. Grafenau
    • 4
  • T. E. Martin
    • 5
  • X. D. Fu
    • 6
  • S. Fakan
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre of Electron MicroscopyUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Molecular GeneticsAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicPragueCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Animal BiologyUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly
  4. 4.Research Institute of Animal ProductionNitraSlovak Republic
  5. 5.Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell BiologyUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  6. 6.Cellular and Molecular MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA

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